Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

You had to be there?

October 29th, 2011, Promulgated by b a

The papacy of Pope Benedict XVI is an ongoing blessing from God.  Bishop Clark’s recent column “Year of Faith” highlights this fact.  What I found interesting, though, between this column and another article I recently read was the mentality of “you had to be there” (not there in Vatican City per se, but alive during the time).  According to Bishop Clark:

The fact is that the number of us who were around in those days grows ever smaller as the years go by. In rapidly increasing numbers, members of our faith community are able to speak of Vatican Council II only as an historic event and not as something that they anticipated with joy and lived through with great excitement. Such differences in perspective affect us all, and, often enough can be a source of tensions — even of disagreement.

I obviously don’t know exactly what Bishop Clark was trying to imply here, so this is just speculation.  But it sounds to me like he’s implying that if you weren’t around before, during, and after the council then you can’t appreciate it in quite the same way as those who “experienced” it.  “You think things are bad now?  You should’ve been around in the pre-V2 days!  Nuns w/ rulers, no ecumenical or interfaith dialogue, overemphasis on going through the motions, etc, etc.”  Contrast this mentality to what His Eminence Mauro Card. Piacenza, Prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, recently said to a group of seminarians (presumably not around at the time of V2).  Especially note the first sentence:

You will probably be the first generation that will correctly interpret the Second Vatican Council, not according to the “spirit” of the Council, which has brought so much disorientation to the Church, but according to what the conciliar event really said in its texts to the Church and to the world.

A Vatican II different from that which produced the texts we have in our possession today does not exist! It is in those texts that we find the will of God for his Church and is against these that it must be measured, in company with two thousand years of Tradition and Christian life.

Renewal is always necessary for the Church, because the conversion of her members, poor sinners, is always necessary! But there cannot be, nor could there be, a pre-Conciliar Church and a post-Conciliar Church! If this could be so, the second one – ours – would be historically and theologically illegitimate!

There is one Church of Christ, of which you are part, which goes from forth Our Lord to the Apostles, from the Blessed Virgin Mary to the Fathers and the Doctors of the Church, from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance, from Romanesque to Gothic to Baroque, and thus until our days, uninterruptedly, without any interruption of continuity, ever!

And all that because the Church is the Body of Christ, it is the unity of His Person that is given to us, her members!


2 Responses to “You had to be there?”

  1. Bernie says:

    I am a “before” and “after” Catholic who both excitedly anticipated, before, and then quietly suffered, after. One need only compare the pre-council and post-council life of the Church in places like, unfortunately, our diocese to see that what happened as a result of the Council was a rupture and not growth. Both the “before” and the “after” in this case cannot be the truth. One is and one isn’t. Mauro Cardinale Piacenza is correct: We are just beginning to see an accurate interpretation of the Council. I didn’t think I’d ever live to see it but the future does, in fact, look promising that the Church will survive -as Christ promised it would. (Perhaps the messy business of the rupture was necessary in order to identify what is not true so that we can jettison it.)

  2. brother of penance says:

    Great post, Ben.

    To Cardinal Piacenza I respond: SIA LODATO GESU CRISTO, SEMPRE SIA LODATO.

    To Bishop Clark I respond: HUH?

    God help us to be ONE in the SON.

    In Philippians 2:2, Saint Paul put IT this way: “complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind”

    I can’t be of the same mind, being in full accord of one mind with statements like Bishop Clark’s quoted above in Ben’s post. I can, however, say AMEN to that of the Italian Cardinal.


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